Martha Angelone won the first National Finals of Breakaway Roping title with a 2.3-second run on her final calf, winning $11,313, plus another $18,029 in go-round earnings.
Angelone, 25, of Stephenville, Texas, finished the year the WPRA's Reserve World Champion with $44,260 in earnings. Jackie Crawford won the WPRA World Championship with $47,185.
"This money means a lot," Angelone said. "My truck that I have right now has been having its turbo light on for about four months now, and I've been really needing to get a new one and didn't really have the downpayment. So that's the first thing I'm going to do is get myself a new truck so I'm not stranded on the side of the road somewhere."
Angelone's performance turned heads across the roping industry. She never took her foot off the throttle, including in the semifinals that saw an unbelievable display of skill with a rope and a horse.
"When I came back seventh in the round, I knew when I saw Jackie (Crawford) be 1.8, and I had Jordan (Fabrizio) behind me, I knew I couldn't shoot to be 2.2 or 2.3 because I felt like Jordan was going to show out like she did. I knew I was going to have to throw fast and push the barrier and I'm lucky I got out like I did and it worked," Angelone said.
She tied Crawford and Fabrizio with a 1.8-second run, and then roped second-to-last in the Finals. Guy and Crawford both had barriers, and Angelone made a 2.3-second run to put the pressure on Fabrizio. Fabrizio was 2.5 to win second in the day money.
"Simba was a true winner today," Angelone said of her 8-year-old gelding WR Class Whiskey. "He did awesome."
Simba had got to turning his head in the box in Day 2, and Charly Crawford, whose wife Jackie Crawford was going head-to-head with Angelone for the world title, jumped in to help her.
"He saw my horse was getting a little nervous," Angelone said. "He asked me if I wanted him to help me, and he stepped in there and did. He just said 'Do your thing.' It was an awesome feeling. Jackie roped her butt off all week. Even when she went out in that one round she made up for it and continued to win as much money as she possibly could."
Angelone is a bartender in Stephenville, and she doesn't have plans to quit her job to become a full-time rodeo cowgirl.
"I don't know that I'll ever just quit my day job," Angelone said. "But if they set it up to where they have a Finals again next year, I'm definitely going to make sure I try to be in the top 15 to give myself a chance. What the PRCA, the WCRA, everything, all the associations, how much they've blown up the breakaway and made it an actual important sport—not just a jackpot sport—we can't thank them enough. We just thought we were always the ones that were going to go to the amateur rodeos and win a couple thousand, and now when we have the chance at this, this is just unreal."
As for 2021, the PRCA and WPRA have assured contestants that the NFBR isn't a one-off. With an end-game in sight for the new year, Angelone plans to be back with a vengeance.
"I'm going to try my best. I didn't rodeo at all this summer. Most of my money I won was off of Fort Worth and then I won Stephenville and a little bit as Mesquite. I didn't go—I didn't know there was an end game. I probably should have realized that there was going to be. But it was awesome that they even put all those rodeos on for all of us and gave us a chance to have a Finals, at this stage," Angelone said. BRJ